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Physical Geography BSc Honours

  • UCAS code: FH82
  • Full time
  • 3 years

Study Physical Geography at Newcastle and develop the scientific knowledge, skills and understanding for a career addressing the global challenges facing our natural environments.

You are currently viewing course information for entry year: 2024

Next start date:

  • September 2024

Fees (per year)

  • Home: £9250
  • International: £22200

Entry requirements and offers

  • A-Level: ABB
  • IB: 32 points

UCAS Institution name and code:

  • NEWC / N21

Course overview

This degree allows you to focus on physical geography from the very start. You'll develop a deep understanding of the processes that shape our planet and gain advanced GIS and remote sensing skills.

You'll receive a thorough grounding in the concepts and techniques of physical geography in Stage 1. In Stages 2 and 3, you will be able to choose from a range of modules in Geography and Civil Engineering. You will be able to apply the skills you gain in the field, both in our geographically diverse region and during a residential field trip in Stage 2.

Your course and study experience - disclaimers and terms and conditions  
Please rest assured we make all reasonable efforts to provide you with the programmes, services and facilities described. However, it may be necessary to make changes due to significant disruption, for example in response to Covid-19.

View our Academic experience page, which gives information about your Newcastle University study experience for the academic year 2023-24.

See our terms and conditions and student complaints information, which gives details of circumstances that may lead to changes to programmes, modules or University services.

Quality and ranking

Professional accreditation and recognition

All professional accreditations are reviewed regularly by their professional body.

Modules and learning


The information below is intended to provide an example of what you will study.

Most degrees are divided into stages. Each stage lasts for one academic year, and you'll complete modules totalling 120 credits by the end of each stage. 

Our teaching is informed by research. Course content may change periodically to reflect developments in the discipline, the requirements of external bodies and partners, and student feedback.

To find out more please see our terms and conditions.

Optional module availability
Student demand for optional modules may affect availability.

Full details of the modules on offer will be published through the Programme Regulations and Specifications ahead of each academic year. This usually happens in May.

You'll explore global environmental issues alongside physical geography concepts and techniques. You will be introduced to glacial, volcanic, tectonic, slope, river catchment and coastal processes.

You’ll be introduced to the methods used to investigate and understand how environments and landscapes evolve and change. This includes field surveying, remote sensing and GIS analysis. You'll put this training into practice during a residential field course in the Lake District.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Physical Geography Field course: Landforms, processes and field techniques 20
Introduction to Physical Geography 20
Mapping a changing world: GIS for Geographers 20
Becoming a Geographer 20
Optional Modules Credits
Geographic Information Systems (GIS) 10
Global Navigation Satellite Systems (GNSS) 10
Earth Observation 10
Interconnected World 20
Environment and Society 20
The Marine Environment 20

You'll study modules in advanced research techniques and key methods. The remaining topics will be optional. This gives you the chance to engage the topics that interest you the most.

You will also choose your second-year field course. In recent years these have included Ireland, Iceland and the Netherlands.


Compulsory Modules Credits
Doing Physical Geography Research: Theory and Practice 20
Key Methods for Physical Geographers 20
Optional Modules Credits
GIS Methods and Applications 10
Satellite Earth Observation 10
Ireland Field Course 20
UK field course research project 20
Global Environmental Change 20
Geohazards 20
Geography Fieldtrip for Module Pre-Registration 20
Glacial Environments 20
River Catchment Dynamics 20
Humans vs Nature in the Netherlands (Netherlands Field course) 20
Research Methods in Environmental Pollution 20

You'll have a wide choice of optional modules that are directly linked to the research work of our staff.

You'll also undertake your dissertation research project. This is a major piece of independent research, based on your interests, led by you with support from a dedicated academic mentor.


Compulsory modules
You take the following compulsory module (except those taking GEO3115 Exchange):
Dissertation (40 credits)
If you're taking GEO3115 (Student Exchange) you take the following compulsory module:


Optional Modules Credits
Fundamentals of Digital Humanities: Computer literacy, data analysis and GIS 20
Residential GIS Fieldcourse 20
Geohazards and Deformation of the Earth 10
Geography Dissertation 40
Student Exchange Semester 1 40
Polar Environments 20
Palaeoclimates 20
Applied Fluvial Geomorphology 20
Geohazards and Risk 20
Coastal Environments 20
Career Development for final year students 20

Teaching and assessment

Teaching methods

Our geography courses include a high level of staff-student interaction, including:

  • tutorials
  • lectures
  • laboratory work
  • IT lab sessions
  • seminars
  • fieldwork

Your modules also require a considerable amount of independent study

Assessment methods

You'll be assessed through a combination of:

  • Coursework

  • Dissertation or research project

  • Essays

  • Examinations – practical or online

  • Group work

  • Presentations

  • Projects

  • Reflective report/journal

  • Reports

  • Seminar tasks/exercises

Skills and experience

Practical skills

Fieldwork is an invaluable part of this degree. Day trips in and around our region bring to life topics like industrial change and the conservation of rivers, wetlands and coastal areas under climate change.

You'll get to explore further afield in Stage 2 on our residential field trips. The destinations we visit change from year-to-year. Recent Physical Geography trips have visited Iceland, Ireland and the Netherlands. Human Geography trips have been to Barcelona, Berlin, Copenhagen and Bosnia.

In Stage 3 you will have the option to complete fieldwork in physical or human geography as a part of your Dissertation. You will have the opportunity to apply for Expedition funding to enable you to conduct ambitious dissertation research anywhere in the world.

Research skills

You'll be part of a vibrant research community. Fieldwork through your degree will help you grow as a researcher and cultivate your own research techniques.

Your final year dissertation enables you to refine the research skills you've developed throughout your degree.


Work placement

Get career ready with a work placement and leave as a confident professional in your field. You can apply to spend 9 to 12 months working in any organisation in the world, and receive University support from our dedicated team to secure your dream placement. Work placements take place between stages 2 and 3.

You'll gain first-hand experience of working in the sector, putting your learning into practice and developing your professional expertise.

If you choose to take a work placement, it will extend your degree by a year, and your degree title will show you have achieved the placement year. A work placement is not available if you're spending a year studying abroad. Placements are subject to availability.

Find out more about work placements

Study abroad

You have the option to study at a partner institution overseas for one or two semesters between Stage 2 and Stage 3.

Find out more about study abroad

Facilities and environment


As a geography student at Newcastle, you'll be based in the School of Geography, Politics and Sociology.

You'll have access to modern laboratories and workshops, and a range of facilities and specialist equipment that are part of the entirely refurbished and newly resourced home of Geography at Newcastle, the Henry Daysh Building and Geoscience Laboratories.

Field equipment

Field equipment includes a range of technologies for:

  • topographic survey
  • soil and sediment sampling
  • biological and chemical analysis
  • hydrological analysis

Our laboratories

  • biology laboratory
  • chemistry laboratory
  • geomorphology and sediment laboratories
Students walking through the Newcastle campus


You'll have the support of an academic member of staff as a personal tutor throughout your degree to help with academic and personal issues.

Peer mentors will help you in your first year. They are fellow students who can help you settle in and answer any questions you have, when starting university.

You'll also benefit from our:

  • extended induction programme, to help you quickly settle in to our lively community of staff and students
  • activities and events run by our highly active student-run society, GeogSoc

Your future

Join a network of successful graduates

Recent graduates have secured roles such as:

  • assistant flood risk consultant
  • data analyst
  • Environment Agency technical assistant
  • graduate surveyor

Read what our graduates have to say about studying Geography at Newcastle University

Graduates in demand

Our graduates’ excellent employment record is a sign of the flexibility and professionalism that our geography degrees develop.

You will leave with sought-after skills - including teamwork, project management, research and presentation skills - making you employable in a wide variety of fields.

Our graduates have been recruited by a variety of organisations, including:

  • the Department for Business, Innovation and Skills
  • the Environment Agency
  • independent and major scientific consultancies
  • Raleigh International
  • the Armed Forces
  • the NHS
  • local government
  • financial services firms

Make a difference

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Careers support

We value your employability highly and have our own Geography Employability Co-ordinator. In your final year you can select an optional work experience module.

Our teaching draws on insights from a range of employers, including governmental bodies, non-governmental organisations, the private sector and charities.

Our award-winning Careers Service is one of the largest and best in the country, and we have strong links with employers. We provide an extensive range of opportunities to all students through our ncl+ initiative.

Visit our Careers Service website

Recognition of professional qualifications outside of the UK

From 1 January 2021 there is an update to the way professional qualifications are recognised by countries outside of the UK

Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme

This degree is approved by DTUS, a Ministry of Defence sponsorship programme for students who wish to join the Royal Navy, British Army, RAF, or Defence Engineering and Science Group (DESG) as technical officers after graduation. 

This scheme is for 2021 entry only. DTUS will not be running for 2022 entry.

Find out more about the Defence Technical Undergraduate Scheme

Entry requirements

All candidates are considered on an individual basis and we accept a broad range of qualifications. The entrance requirements and offers below apply to 2024 entry.

International Baccalaureate

Other UK and the Republic of Ireland qualifications

Contextual Offers

Through one of our contextual routes, you could receive an offer of up to three grades lower than the typical requirements.

What is a contextual offer? Find out more and if you’re eligible for this or our PARTNERS Programme supported entry route.

Qualifications from outside the UK

English Language requirements

Entrance courses (INTO)

International Pathway Courses are specialist programmes designed for international students who want to study in the UK. We provide a range of study options for international students in partnership with INTO. 

Find out more about International Pathway Courses

Admissions policy

This policy applies to all undergraduate and postgraduate admissions at Newcastle University. It is intended to provide information about our admissions policies and procedures to applicants and potential applicants, to their advisors and family members, and to staff of the University.

Credit transfer and Recognition of Prior Learning

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) can allow you to convert existing relevant university-level knowledge, skills and experience into credits towards a qualification. Find out more about the RPL policy which may apply to this course.

Tuition fees and scholarships

Tuition fees for 2024 entry (per year)

Qualification: BSc Honours

Home students

full time 3 years

Tuition fees (per year)


International students

full time 3 years

Tuition fees (per year)


Year abroad and additional costs

For programmes where you can spend a year on a work placement or studying abroad, you will receive a significant fee reduction for that year. 

Some of our degrees involve additional costs which are not covered by your tuition fees.


Find out more about:

Open days and events

How to apply

Apply through UCAS

To apply for undergraduate study at Newcastle University, you must use the online application system managed by the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS). All UK schools and colleges, and a small number of EU and international establishments, are registered with UCAS. You will need:

  • the UCAS name and institution codes for Newcastle University (NEWC/N21)
  • the UCAS code for the course you want to apply for
  • the UCAS 'buzzword' for your school or college

If you are applying independently, or are applying from a school or college which is not registered to manage applications, you will still use the Apply system. You will not need a buzzword.

Apply through UCAS

Apply through an agent

International students often apply to us through an agent. Have a look at our recommended agents and get in touch with them.

Visit our International pages

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